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Gov. Parson proposes 3 percent pay raise for all Missouri's state employees

Gov. Parson proposes 3 percent pay raise for all Missouri's state employees

January 17th, 2019 by Bob Watson in Missouri News

Budget director Dan Haug answers questions from the media Wednesday on budget changes during a press conference at his office in the Capitol.

Photo by Sally Ince /News Tribune.

Three percent, across the board.

That's the pay raise Gov. Mike Parson is asking lawmakers to approve for all of Missouri's state employees, for the state business year that begins July 1.

On top of that, State Budget Director Dan Haug told reporters Wednesday afternoon, Parson's proposed budget will have an $8.2 million allocation to adjust Corrections officers' salaries, and additional money to adjust the salaries of about 4,000 state employees so they can earn the "market minimums" for their jobs, when compared with other states and private businesses that have similar kinds of work.

"I also want to be very clear that the problem is not our state workforce," Parson said during his State of the State address Wednesday afternoon to a joint legislative session. "To the contrary, I have found, overwhelmingly, that we have a remarkable and dedicated state workforce.

"But, we as elected leaders must do a better job (of) clearly identifying expectations and priorities, communicating and managing responsibilities, and providing better training to promote our success."

State-paid surveys have shown, on average, Missouri government employees earn less than state employees in the other 49 states.

Add benefits, and the state workers' income packages rise only a few points, those surveys reported.

Although the budget is for the state business year that begins July 1, Haug said the proposed raises wouldn't kick in until Jan. 1, 2020.

"The last several (raises) have been Jan. 1," he told the News Tribune. "I think that's become the new 'normal' for us.

"They'll get (a raise) this January and they'll get one next January."

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe long has advocated for better pay for state employees — as a member of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, when he was a member of the state's six-member Highways and Transportation Commission, and during his last nearly eight years as a state senator.

"I'm super happy that I've been able to use my position (as lieutenant governor) in the governor's recommendation, that helps the state employees some," Kehoe said Wednesday evening. "This will take effect a year from now.

"The governor is very focused and I am absolutely telling him all the time that we have some fantastic people working in this state, and we need to figure out how to compensate them."

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said: "Obviously, we're trying to attract people to fill jobs and vacancies that we have, and the environment that we have, with 3 percent unemployment, pay is an issue.

"And we can see this revolving door of people (when) you want to try to retain and keep good, quality people, and the only way to do that, in a competitive environment, is to increase the pay."

Haug said the proposed budget also increases the state's funding "for both the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan for state employees and for the pensions.

"The pensions, we funded the actuarially requested amount."

The proposed budget also cuts 430 jobs, Haug announced, but administrators expect to achieve those cuts through attrition, canceling positions that currently aren't filled, or that will become vacant when someone retires.

He said those positions are throughout state government, and not concentrated in any one agency.